Inspired ideas and versatile recipes for summer courgettes

Courgette Carpacio with Parmesan and Nastrtium

Ribbons of thin courgette lightly dressed with lemon and garlic and tossed together with slices of parmesan and fresh peppery nasturtium flowers.


Every Summer its a race against time to pick  the courgettes before they  turn into marrows. I don’t always win. They seem to grow before your eyes from small tender courgette with the flower still attached to massive Marrows that need a very different style of cooking.  I love Marrow and I like to let a few courgettes become mature towards the end of the season, but I do prefer courgettes. I love their raw nuttiness in salads, and cooking them is so quick and easy which is perfect for suppers on hot summer evenings.   We like them sliced and fried in a little olive oil and served sprinkled with flaked sea salt.  Or,  simply steamed and garnished with a handful of fresh garden herbs such as lemon thyme, and a knob of butter.

Below are two further  fresh and simple ideas for using Courgettes.  A raw Carpaccio Salad and a wonderfully versatile and flexible Garden Ratatouille.

Courgette Carpaccio Salad with Nasturtium Flowers



Serves 6

3 medium sized courgettes

75g Basil

50g Parmesan

6-8 Nasturtium flowers if you have them, washed, or, a few additional basil leaves.


Juice ½ a lemon

1 clove garlic, crushed

A pinch of sugar,

4 tablespoons (60ml) extra virgin olive oil

Salt and freshly ground black pepper.


Wash and dry the courgettes. Cut off the ends of each courgette and using a potato peeler slice them lengthways into thin ribbons. Put the ribbons into a large a bowl.

Make the dressing. Add the crushed garlic to the lemon juice and mix well. Pour in the olive oil and add a pinch of sugar, salt and freshly ground black pepper. Mix well until the dressing emulsifies. Pour about half of the dressing over the courgette and with clean hands mix very gently to cover and separate the ribbons.

Remove the leaves from the basil. Reserve a few for garnish and add the remainder to the dressed courgette. Mix very gently to cover the basil leaves lightly in the dressing.

Using the potato peeler slice the parmesan cheese into pieces and add these to the salad along with a little more of the dressing and mix again.

To serve, mound the salad on to a flat serving plate and decorate with fresh nasturtium flowers or a few additional fresh basil leaves.

Yesterday I lunched with a friend at Sky Gyngell’s wonderful Spring Restaurant at Somerset House .  Both Mine and my friends salad first courses contained  peppery Nasturtium leaves.  The above recipe could be adapted to use 50g fresh basil leaves and 50g small tasty nasturtium leaves. instead of the parmesan this might be nice with fresh soft  and mild goats cream cheese, a few sundried tomatoes and 25g of toasted pine nuts mixed gently into the leaves with the dressing.

Sky Gyngell @ Spring Resturant

Summer Garden Menu from my Lunch at Spring Restaurant.

Garden  Ratatouille



Serves 4-6

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 onion, diced

1 clove garlic, crushed

3 courgettes, chopped into even sized chunks

6 fresh tomatoes, roughly chopped

50ml of water

25g Fresh basil, stalks removed and leaves shredded

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Extra virgin olive oil and freshly grated parmesan cheese to serve.


Heat the oil in a deep frying pan or heavy based casserole (they should have lids that fit) over a moderate heat.  Add the onion and cook for a few minutes until fragrant but not coloured. Add the garlic and cook for a further minute or so.

Add the Diced courgette, the chopped tomatoes and the shredded basil leaves and the water.   Stir to mix and season with a good pinch of flaked sea salt and several twists or a good pinch of freshly ground black pepper.

Put the lid on the pan and reduce the heat to moderately low, mark 4 on an induction hob. Cook for ten minutes or until the tomatoes are beginning to pulp and the courgettes have released their juice. Remove the lid and cook for about 15-20 minutes more or until the courgettes is soft and the tomato sauce is thick and glossy.  This dish will reheat very well so don’t overcook at this stage.

 Serving Suggestions:

There are many ways to serve this beautifully simple dish. I have two favourites – the first is simply to drizzle each serving with a fragrant extra virgin olive oil and a sprinkling of fresh parmesan cheese and to serve it up with fresh crusty bread and a garden fresh green salad.

And secondly, for a more substantial dish break two eggs per person over the top of the cooked ratatouille. Cover the pan and poach the eggs for five minutes or until the whites are cooked and the yolks still soft. Again, serve with crusty bread and a simple salad.

 You might also like to try these ideas out:

 Ratatouille Gratin:

Make a gratin by mixing grated cheese and fresh breadcrumbs. Put the cooked ratatouille into an oven proof dish and scatter the cheesy breadcrumbs on top.  Place the dish in a hot oven Gas 6/200c for about fifteen minutes. The breadcrumbs should be golden and the cheese melted.

 Ratatouille with grilled and melted Goats Cheese:

1 quantity Garden Ratatouille

1 small round goat’s cheese per 2 people.

Put the cooked and warm ratatouille into a heat proof serving dish. Cut each round goat’s cheese in half put on top of the cooked ratatouille.  Put the dish under a hot grill and cook until the cheese is golden and bubbling.











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